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Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Writing Tips

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Moby-Dick meets Hollywood: In the Heart of the Sea

I write several different blogs, but this one is supposed to be all about writing.

Moby-Dick is one of the greatest novels of all time and now we have a retelling of the epic story through the movie   In the Heart of the Sea!

Here is my movie review for it, shared from my movie review blog called "Movie Review Maven."

Grade:  A-

Rating:  PG-13, 2 hours 1 minute

In a Nutshell:     1820. A giant, vengeful whale.  A ship.  A determined captain.  Man vs. beast.  Imagine Entertainment and Director Ron Howard create a visual masterpiece with unbelievable cinematography, sailing you to the “edge of insanity.”

This seafaring yarn graphically illustrates how Herman Melville’s famous novel Moby-Dick came to be.  While the screen definitely captures your attention, the storytelling has movie critics disappointed.  I was entertained and intrigued, as well as disgusted and exhausted. 

As always, the book is better than the movie, but these special effects are innovative and effective.

Uplifting theme: 
  • “Can man bend nature to our will? – Captain Pollard  (Benjamin Walker)
  • Persistence and tenacity will see you through.
  • Integrity is worth more than reputation or money.

Things I liked:
·         THOR!  If you’re not in awe of the giant whale, then you have handsome and studly Chris Hemsworth to stare at.
·         Believe it or not, I actually like it when there are water spots on the camera lens.  That tells me there was real water in the scene and not just CGI.  Then again, some of the scenes made me wonder if the water spots were CGI!  If so, nice detail!  The water scenes are so well done that sometimes you even feel like you’re going to get splashed on.
·         The scene with the blood raining from above was disgusting and extremely powerful.
·         I liked learning more about Melville, the author of Moby-Dick, and played by Ben Whishaw.
·         How did they get some of those amazing scenes?  Drones? 
·         Interesting camera angles.  I also love how the camera goes under the water and back above the water seamlessly.  Great underwater scenes.  You might feel like holding your breath.
·         I thought the whale pins were cool.  In order to earn one, young Tom Nickerson (Tom Holland) is told that “you have to thrust a killing lance into one of the largest beasts to grace this earth.”
·         I love the mention of Nathaniel Hawthorne.  Tom Nickerson asks “Have you read Hawthorne, Mr. Melville?  There’s a writer, great writer.”  Apparently, Herman Melville was quite taken with Hawthorne and even dedicated Moby-Dick to Hawthorne whom he compared to Shakespeare and called a genius.
·         Great sound effects, although sometimes a bit too loud.
·         I’ve always liked Charlotte Riley and wonder why we don’t see her more often.  She was really great in Ridley Scott’s medieval drama “World Without End.”
·         I’m always impressed with characters who rise above their temptations, like Cillian Murphy’s character, Matthew Joy. His resolve to not drink alcohol, even when things got tough, was inspiring and not seen often enough in movies.
·         I love that they included a quick shot of the words “Call me Ishmael” on the screen, which is the first sentence in the book Moby-Dick.

Things I didn’t like:
·         See it in 3D if you can, unless you get motion sickness.  You might get sea sick watching some of the scenes.  Just close your eyes for a few seconds and you’ll be fine.
·         Some scenes have so many loud noises between people yelling and waves crashing and boats creaking that you can’t quite understand what anyone is saying.
·         Animal activists will find many of the scenes unnerving.
·         I’ve never understood how all those sails and ropes work, but it’s always fascinating to watch sailors work it.
·         The scene that shows the ocean view from Owen’s house looks terribly artificial, but all of the other CGI scenes were very believable.

Interesting lines:
·         “Sometimes, the fewer questions one asks, the better.”   - Matthew
·         “I’ll come back as quick as a summer’s eve.” – Owen
“Just come back.” – Peggy
·         “Without you, the world plunges into darkness.” – Pollard senior
·         “Monsters, are they real or do the stories exist to respect the sea’s dark secrets?  The question both vexes and excites me.” – Herman Melville
·         “The whale?  So, it’s true?” – Melville
“Yes.  Too much is true.” – Nickerson
·         “The devil loves unspoken secrets.” –  Melville
·         “No right-minded sailor discards what might save him.” – Owen Chase
*    "We will surely perish out there." - Captain Pollard
       "We might also survive."  - Mr. Chase

Tips for parents:   
  • The sailors draw a picture of a topless woman.
  • Some profanity.
  • Several intense scenes with lots of blood and guts. 
  • Skeletons of dead guys might frighten young children.
  • Explain to your kids that a “greenhorn” is the old-fashioned way of saying “newbie”.

Sailing definitions:
Doldrums: an equatorial region of the Atlantic Ocean with unpredictable and often no winds
Port side:  left-hand side of a ship
Squall:  a sudden violent storm

I always do all the “talking” in these reviews, but I want to hear what YOU liked and didn’t like!  Please comment below!

Sunday, October 18, 2015

What authors can learn from R.L. Stine and his Goosebump books

I don't always post my movie reviews here on my author blog, except when they talk about books, so this one is perfect!

Movie:    Goosebumps

Rating:    PG, 1 hour 43 minutes

Grade:   A

In a Nutshell:   If you grew up reading R.L. Stine's Goosebumps books or were a parent who read them to your kids like I did, you’re going to get a kick out of this homage to comedy horror stories and the author who gave them to us.

Sony Pictures Animation does a great job at blending reality with fantasy, mixed with sarcasm and romance.  Thanks for releasing it in time for Halloween!   “It gives me…oh what’s the word…goosebumps.”

Uplifting Theme:
·         “It’s time to face your demons…” – R.L. Stine
·         Connecting with real people.

Things I liked:
·         As an author, I love how the ink literally comes to life off the pages of the book.
·         I love how Slappy actually looks like Jack Black/R.L. Stine.
·         You gotta admire the way the real R.L. Stine is bringing new life and sales back to his books!  Brilliant!
·         Good for Amy Ryan for starring in 2 movies in theaters at the same time!  (Bridge of Spies )  I’ve always adored her ever since I first saw her do a Yoda impression on The Office: Season 5 .
·         See if you can spot the real R.L. Stine in his cameo at the school.  This is what he looks like in real life:

Things I didn’t like:
·         It was a little bit scawy…
-    It would have been fun to see more of the other characters R.L. Stine created in the movie.
-    Jack Black didn't have a mole on his forehead like the real R.L. Stine does.

Funny lines:  
·         “Dude, we should call the cops!” – Champ
“Have you met the cops in this town?” – Zach
·         “Is that your scream?” – Zach
“Don’t judge me.” – Champ
·         “What is that?” -    Aunt Lorraine   (played by Jillian Bell)
“I rub myself in cilantro every morning.” – R.L. Stine
·         “I don’t remember writing about a giant preying mantis!   (it then spews s sticky ick from its mouth)  “Right, now I remember.” – R.L. Stine
·         “Let’s split up!”  - R.L.
“No!  Haven’t you read any of your books?  We’re never supposed to split up!”  - Champ
·         “Look at this kitchen!” – Gale
“We don’t cook.” – Zach
“Well, look at all this counter space to put take-out on!” – Gale
·         “I’m going to get a start on decorating my room…knock it off my Bucket List.” – Zach
·         “I know I speak for the entire administration when I say how excited we are about this weekend’s dance.  We  can’t stop twerking about it.” – Gale
·         “Shut your mouth!” – Cop
“Ok, but that’s not going to help.”  - Slappy  (the ventriloquist dummy)

Things you learn about writing from R.L. Stine:
·         “Every story ever told can be broken down into 3 distinct parts: the beginning, the middle, and the twist.”
·         R.L. Stine wrote”THE GHOST NEXT DOOR book.  I guess he wrote about it twice.  Think about it.
·         “The night was cold.  Cold was the night.”  Word order is powerful.
·         “No, it doesn’t work unless it’s a real R.L. story with twists, turns and frights…and personal growth for the main character.”
·         Champ asks R.L. “Why did you have to come up with something so freaky?”  The author simply replies “I just have a knack for it.”    In other words, write what you know.
·         “Steve King wishes he could be me!  I sell way more books than him, but no one ever talks about that.”
·         “Why couldn’t you have written stories about rainbows and unicorns?”   - Champ
“Because that doesn’t sell 400 million copies.”   R.L. Stine
“Domestic?” – Champ
“No, international, but it’s still a very impressive number.  Shut up!”   R.L. Stine
·         “That typewriter is special.  It has a soul of its own.” – R.L.

Tips for Parents:
·         Some of the monsters can be pretty scary.  There are plenty of creepy things too, like clowns, ghouls/zombies, drooling werewolf with frightening teeth and claws, evil garden gnomes, dolls, bugs, aliens, etc.  R.L. Stine said in a recent interview with Plugged In that he didn't want to traumatize children who see the film, so you won't see any blood.
·         Explosions, violence, suspenseful chase scenes.
-    Topics addressed include evil, revenge, and love.

Can't get enough of R.L. Stine's Goosebumps? Check these out!


Saturday, August 15, 2015

Deseret News loves Base Hits and Home Run Relationships book!

Wow!  Another great review about my newest book just hit Deseret News!

Book review: Mom-son duo offer advice in 'Base Hits and Home Run Relationships'

By Rachel Chipman
For the Deseret News
Published: Saturday, Aug. 15 2015 5:00 a.m. MDT
Updated: 12 hours ago

"Base Hits and Home Run Relationships: What Women Wish Guys Knew" is by Trina Boice.
Cedar Fort Publishing & Media

Men and women of all relationship statuses can benefit from this practical and fun dating and marriage baseball-themed guide titled "Base Hits and Home Run Relationships."

"BASE HITS AND HOME RUN RELATIONSHIPS: What Women Wish Guys Knew," by Trina Boice, Cedar Fort, $18.99, 288 pages (nf)
When it comes to the game of love, everyone strikes out from time to time. And some people feel they can't even figure out the rules.
Luckily, author Trina Boice, who is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and her oldest son, who she dubs, "Coach Cooper," a recent Brigham Young University graduate, are here to help with the book "Base Hits and Home Run Relationships: What Women Wish Guys Knew."
This baseball-themed book about dating and relationships, including marriage and pleasantly passes along solid advice and gentle humor, whether the reader just needs a few pointers on improving that batting average or relationship, or the opposite sex seems to be playing a whole different game.
Each chapter contains Trina Boice's introduction, a baseball comic, Coach Cooper's input, advice for women titled "A League of Their Own" and four activities at the end, with varying levels of difficulty noted by a single, a double, a triple and a home run. In one of the chapters, the double is talking to a woman the man previous doesn't know, the triple is talking to a woman who usually isn't the guy's type, and home run is asking a woman out who he feels is out of his league.
The baseball analogy gets a little cheesy, of course, but it shows that this book does not take itself too seriously, preventing the preachiness that pervades too many self-help books. It was also refreshing to get both young and old and male and female perspectives. The activities really set this book apart. The single, double, triple and home run options allow readers to progress at their own pace, but add specificity to what had to be a rather generic book.
Many, many dating books exist. However, the beauty of "Base Hits and Home Run Relationships" is that it does not become obsolete at any point of the dating process — even after marriage. The authors share reminders that the core of any home run relationship at any age is the right balance of selflessness and self-respect.
"Base Hits and Home Run Relationships" is primarily aimed at LDS men, but there are sections targeted at women. It would be a great resource for men or women looking to improve their interpersonal skills. Teenage boys and new husbands especially will find some valuable information in "Base Hits."
There is no sexual content, foul language or violence in this book.
Rachel Chipman graduated with a bachelor's degree in family life and human development. Her current goals are to read more, to write more and to learn to type while holding her infant daughter. Her email

Deseret News

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Fantastic advice for single guys

My editor just sent me the link to another fantastic review for my newest book!

New Books: Love and Relationships
by Laurie Williams Sowby
The topic of relationships gets top billing in this week's two book selections, with high recommendations for both. I can't say enough good things about either.

The first is for those in the dating stage. Relationship building is treated with humor, insight, and practical advice in Base Hits and Home Runs: What Women Wish Guys Knew (Cedar Fort Publishing 2015, 276 pages in soft cover, $18.99). The woman speaking from experience here is Trina Boice, who enlists sports metaphors and the aid of her twenty-something son, "Coach Cooper," in rallying eligible young LDS bachelors toward more meaningful relationships with the opposite sex.

The topics are on-target as the book moves from simply playing ball to the minor leagues and then the majors. How to flirt, dress, compliment, plan dates, listen, score points with her friends, and work up to the first kiss are all covered, along with crucial aspects such as defining the relationship and continuing courtship after marriage and even after children. Boice's explanations (translations?) of what women are thinking in various situations and stages of a relationship could be a major revelation to male readers.

Interesting stats, assignments to put the principles into practice, and quotes from sports figures round out the chapters. The author is careful to reference scriptures, quotes, and research without detracting from the lively conversation. For less than 20 bucks, this book is a great investment for any young man who wants to get serious about finding--and being--"the one."
More serious in tone is Love is a Choice (Deseret Book 2015, 273 pages in hard cover, $24.99). Elder Lynn G. Robbins of the Presidency of the Seventy approaches the topic of maintaining relationships through modeling them on principles of the gospel and attributes of the Savior.
In the first part, "Choosing Love," he speaks of "growing in love" as opposed to the more temporary "falling in love" and teaches about the Lord's way as opposed to "the wrong way," both obvious and less so. Elder Robbins presents it all in the context of families and the eternal perspective. Scriptures and gospel-centered explanations address couples at all stages, from newlyweds to parents and eventually empty-nesters.

He goes into depth in chapters on agency and love in marriage, accepting the responsibility to repent and forgive that comes with agency, following the Savior's example and understanding how his Atonement can strengthen marriage and family, the interconnectedness of love and self-reliance, respecting children's agency, and choosinghappiness.

Part II offers additional "Resources for Practicing Great Choices," with a look at financial unity in "One Heart, Mind, and Bank Account" and helps for family home evening in another chapter. Some 60 pages of appendix are devoted to "Christlike Virtues" which could individually be studied and discussed in relation to their role in creating strong, loving relationships.

Both books are solid resources for readers who want to improve their relationships by improving themselves.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Love is like baseball

I just received another fantastic review for my newest book Base Hits and Home Run Relationships: What Women Wish Guys Knew

Here is a book review written by Melanie Valderrama who reviews a TON of books on her blog at on    To read more about her review, you can go to her site.

Love is like baseball, so hit a home run in your relationship! With Trina Boice's advice, any man can learn how to step up to the plate. Learn tips, stats, and skills to make a powerful and lasting romance whether you're in the “minor leagues” of dating or the “major leagues” of married life.

I like the idea of this book and think it's full of great advice! There are three main sections, or "innings." The first inning is "Play Ball!" where the author explains how her book is set up. She gives some advice, then turns it over to her son, Cooper, who shares his perspective on the topic being discussed and shares tips and examples to help be successful in dating and relationships (yes, he's tried and tested these ideas himself). She also shares Stats in each chapter and has assignments which are various challenges and go along with the baseball theme. Women aren't off the hook, either. She has a section for them at the end with advice, assignments and challenges as well.

The second inning is "The Minor League." Most of the chapters are in this section and some of the topics include first impressions, how to flirt, when to call a girl, courting and dating ideas (these work for relationships at every level), persistence, first kiss, defining the relationship, and finally, the proposal.

The third and final inning is "The Major League." This deals with marriage. There are topics that cover newlyweds, sex, continuing courtship in marriage, forgiveness, communication and avoiding divorce.

No matter which stage your relationship is in, there is something for everyone in this book. Dating can be scary and I liked how Trina and her son, "Coach" Cooper, break it down and explain it. The baseball theme makes this book fun to read and is something men can relate to. I enjoyed their stories, get to know you games and questions, questions to reflect on, and advice. I also thought the body language discussion was interesting.

I had to read through it quickly this time and plan to go through it again slowly. There's a lot of information and assignments so it will take quite a while to get through all of it if you're looking to improve your relationships. I also plan to share it with my son when he starts dating so he can feel more confident in the dating game. Guys (and girls), this is a book worth reading and you'll want to follow through on the assignments!

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Another Nicholas Sparks book turns into a Chick Flick

I write a movie review blog, but whenever the movies come from books, I like to include those reviews here on my author web site!

Movie:   The Longest Ride

Pg-13, 2 hours 8 minutes

Grade:   B+

In a Nutshell:   What I thought would just be a sappy, preditable Chick Flick turned out to be a romance with great depth and heart.  We recently saw the beautiful Britt (Brittany) Robertson in Tomorrowland , looking like a spunky teen with gorgeous hair.  A minute later, she’s all grown up and falling in love.  Her boo is the handsome Scott Eastwood whose life revolves around the “toughest sport on dirt”, bull-riding.  He’s the old-fashioned gentleman and hero that every girl wants.

The film is based on the bestselling novel of the same name by Nicholas Sparks.   Also featured in two love stories for the price of one are: Alan Alda, Oona Chaplin, and Jack Huston.  I love it when stories intersect and it works well in this movie.

Uplifting Theme:
·         Ruth asks “What right do I have to be happy when there is so much suffering in the world?”  Young Ira wisely states “What right do you have to not be happy?”  Despite life’s trials and challenges, we need to find our own happiness.
·         “Even an accident will have purpose and direction.” – Black Mountain College art teacher
·         Luke explains to Sophia that “All bull riders get hurt.  It’s not a matter of if, but when.”  I think that’s true for humans in general.  We’ll all get hurt emotionally in our lives.  The idea is to get through it gracefully and with love.
·         “Love requires sacrifice.  Always.” – Ira
·         “We focused on all the things we had, rather than the things we didn’t.” - Ira

Things I liked:
·         I live in Las Vegas where “Cowboy Christmas” takes over the town every December.  It was fun to see the bull-riding trials before that big championship.
·         I love the cute  look of a skirt with cowboy boots.  Another good  look is a shy cowboy holding a bouquet of flowers.
·         The film is full of great country music from the Pistol Annies, Black Pistol Fire, The Wild Feathers, Ryan Adams and more.  The Longest Ride (Original Soundtrack Album) will surely be popular.
·         Beautiful North Carolina scenery near where my mother grew up.
·         The first kiss can really say a lot.  Ira explains “Our first kiss – it was the promise of everything to come.”   Couples often spend their lives trying to recapture that original magic.  An older Ira sadly noted “It’s a scary thing how the people closest to you can become strangers.”
·         SPOILER ALERT: I love inspiring World War II movies.  I was surprised to see a cowboy chick flick include a war twist.
·         Sophia explains that her favorite comfort food is a Polish dumpling called “Koldenny”. Want to see what it looks like?
·         I thought Ruth was so sweet to her students.  A good elementary school teacher can truly change the direction of a child’s life.
·         The film touches on childless couples and the painful process of adoption.
·         SPOILERT ALERT: The target audience will love the sweet, fairy tale ending.

Things I didn’t like:
·         Over two hours long, some guys in the audience may find new meaning to the title The Longest Ride
·         The ingredients are pretty predictable.  Somebody’s gotta get wet and have to get undressed at some point, right?
·         Both couples include a spunky girl and a quiet, country boy.  Maybe more variety would have added increased depth to the characters.

Funny lines:
·         “I want a cowboy!” – One of Sophia’s sorority sisters
·         “She has the coldest hands I’ve ever felt.  I think she soaks them in ice water before she comes by.” – Ira Levinson  (the wonderful Alan Alda)
·         “How are you feeling?”  - Sophia to Ira
“The better question is how do I look?” – Ira
“Very handsome.” – Sophia
“That’s all I care about.” - Ira

Sappy lines that girls fall for every time:
·         “Our chance at being together was greater than being apart.” – Ira
·         “Today started out like any other day, but when you walked through the door of my father’s store, looking so beautiful and vibrant, I knew my life would never be the same.” – Young Ira (Jack Huston)
·         “I just don’t know how to make this work.” – Luke
“I don’t either, but I know that I want to.” – Sophia
·         “I love you so much, even if that means it doesn’t include me.” – Ira
·         “it’s only 8 seconds.  That girl could be the rest of your life.” – Kate (Lolita Davidovich)
·         “Ruth had an eye for talent.  I only had eyes for Ruth.” - Ira

Tips for Parents:
·         There are moments when you see some naked parts during pre-marital sex, including Scott Eastwood’s bum.  Both couples end up in bed.
·         Mild profanity.

Good for Britt Robertson for having two movies out this summer!


Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Mormon Tabernacle choir member sings praises of Trina's new book!

I was thrilled to receive such a great review of my newest book by a well-known author and member of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, Michael Young!

Michael Young sang his praises when he posted this glowing review of my newest book Base Hits and Home Run Relationships: What Women Wish Guys Knew :

"I really loved the tone of this book, which is set to a backdrop of comparing relationships to playing baseball. It tackles a serious topic with warmth and understanding, and though it is a book aimed at men, I never felt as though it was talking down to me. I also enjoyed the great baseball card illustrations with quotes scattered throughout the book.

It offers pragmatic advice, straightforward and from a compassionate point of view, not putting down either men or women, but offering clear suggestions about how to actually improve your dating or marital relationship. I liked how she also made suggestions that built upon each other, offering you a stepwise path toward an ultimate goal. (Appropriately, she calls these “first base”, “second base”, “third base” and “home run”.)  I will be taking these to heart and using them to improve my own marriage."

Michael is a great author himself!  Be sure to check out some of his newest books below:

 Some of his other popular books include:

 To see all of his books and projects, visit Michael at his web site!